What is Amass Orcs in Magic: the Gathering?

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has long been celebrated for its ability to blend complex gameplay with immersive storytelling. The introduction of the “Amass” mechanic in the War of the Spark set marked a significant addition to this tradition, allowing players to summon and strengthen Army tokens through various spells and abilities. Originally themed around zombies, the mechanic has seen a thematic shift with the release of “Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth,” adapting to the rich lore of Middle-earth by introducing “Amass Orcs.”

Understanding Amass and Its Orcish Twist

“Amass Orcs” in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is an intriguing mechanic that builds on the existing “Amass” ability, which originally debuted in the “War of the Spark” set. The traditional Amass mechanic allows players to create and grow an Army by putting a specified number of +1/+1 counters on an Army creature token. If the player doesn’t already control an Army creature, they create a 0/0 black Army creature token and then apply the +1/+1 counters to it​​.

The twist with “Amass Orcs,” introduced in the “Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth” set, is that the armies you amass are composed of Orcs. This thematic adaptation fits the lore of Middle-earth, where Orc armies are a significant part of the narrative. When you amass Orcs, if you control a creature with the Army type, it gets +1/+1 counters and becomes an Orc in addition to its other types. If you don’t control an Army, you create a 0/0 Orc Army token creature and put the specified number of +1/+1 counters on that instead. This mechanic effectively allows you to build an Orc Army, reflecting the thematic elements of assembling vast, menacing forces​​. It is reflected in one of the most popular new LotR Cards: Orcish Bowmasters.

Strategic Implications and Gameplay

The Amass mechanic, including its Orc variant, offers a versatile tool for players, impacting both deck building and in-game strategies. Amass Orcs slots well into sacrifice decks, where generating a single, increasingly powerful token can be more advantageous than creating many smaller ones. This fits particularly well with the flavor of building a formidable Orc Army, akin to those seen in the Lord of the Rings saga​​.

Cards that feature Amass or Amass Orcs vary in their applications, providing benefits beyond just token generation. For example, “Enter the God-Eternals” amasses 4, mills four cards, deals four damage, and gains four life, showcasing the multifaceted benefits these cards can offer. The versatility of Amass Orcs extends to its potential for future expansions, allowing the mechanic to feature in sets beyond those heavily focused on zombies​​.

Thematic Integration and Future Possibilities

The adaptation of Amass to feature Orcs is a testament to MTG’s commitment to thematic integration. This change not only enhances the storytelling aspect of the game but also opens the door for Amass to appear in a broader range of settings and storylines. The specificity of “Amass Zombies” for older cards and the introduction of “Amass Orcs” demonstrate the game’s evolving nature and its responsiveness to thematic contexts​​.

The flexibility of the Amass mechanic, now capable of summoning different types of creatures, suggests exciting possibilities for future expansions. As the game continues to explore new worlds and narratives, the potential to amass other creature types could introduce fresh strategic and thematic elements to MTG. We are looking forward to more good MTG cards that have this theme.


The evolution of the Amass mechanic from zombies to Orcs reflects Magic: The Gathering’s ongoing innovation in gameplay and narrative integration. “Amass Orcs” not only enriches the strategic depth of the game but also pays homage to the lore of Middle-earth, offering players new ways to engage with the game’s mechanics and stories.

As MTG continues to grow and explore new horizons, the potential for Amass and other mechanics to adapt and evolve promises to keep the game fresh and exciting for players around the world.

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